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  Director's Message I Message Archive I Biography
       
HTS Director Pam Fischer

Director's Message
August-September 2008

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Pam Fischer
Director
 
  Bicycling
  Thank you for visiting the Division of Highway Traffic Safety’s website. Charged with ensuring the safety of all who use our roadways, the Division sponsors comprehensive public education and awareness campaigns, as well as law enforcement initiatives to address a broad array of traffic safety issues.
  With the Summer season well upon us, and more people opting to take a “staycation” closer to home, it’s important to focus our safety efforts on what is rapidly becoming one of the most popular alternate forms of transportation in New Jersey – bicycling.
  Unfortunately, so far this year, 11 lives have already been lost in bike-related fatalities in our State. This is troubling when you consider that a total of 12 bike fatalities occurred in 2007. Across the nation, nearly 567,000 people are taken to hospital emergency rooms each year as a result of bike-related injuries. Clearly, these statistics reinforce the critical need to make sure riders understand not only how to safely operate a bicycle, but how to share the road with motorists. And that motorists, as well, recognize that bicyclists have a right to be on the road.
  Under New Jersey law, a bike is considered a vehicle, so riders must obey the same laws as motorists when on roadways, including riding with traffic and obeying all traffic signals and signs. Bikes must also be properly maintained, and have the correct safety gear including reflectors, lights and a horn or bell. And, perhaps most importantly, bike riders of all ages should wear a helmet.
  To ensure that all bicyclists, regardless of age, ride safe this summer and throughout the year, the Division of Highway Traffic Safety offers these safety tips:
 
  • Never ride a bike without a helmet. The law requires anyone under the age of 17 to wear a properly fitted and fastened helmet, but all riders are strongly encouraged to use one. Head injuries are the most common cause of death among cyclists, but this trauma can be reduced by as much as 85 percent simply by wearing a helmet. Parents and older friends must be a role model for young children and teens by always wearing a helmet when they ride and enforcing the law.
  • Make sure your helmet fits properly. The helmet should be placed over the forehead and the strap secure enough to ensure that it does not move forward or backward. To test if your helmet fits properly, place two fingers under the chin strap. If you can fit less or more than two, the fit should be adjusted.
  • Wear bright clothing to ensure that you’re visible to motorists and pedestrians.
  • Make sure your bike is equipped with reflectors. If you plan to ride at night, install a white light on the front and a red light on the rear of the bike.
  • Under New Jersey law, all bikes must have a horn or a bell. This safety equipment can help alert both motorists and pedestrians to your presence.
  • Ride single file with the flow of traffic on the right side of the road.
  • Use proper turning and stopping hand signals.
  • When approaching an intersection, proceed with caution, looking left, right and left again.

    * Never ride two on a bike. It’s not only dangerous but against the law.

  • Make sure your bike is regularly maintained and all equipment is working properly. Tires should be properly inflated and the wheels straight and secure.
  Following these simple rules of the road will help to ensure that all New Jerseyans who opt to enjoy cycling remain safe and free from harm on our roadways year-round.
Along with bike safety, the Division’s website has a wealth of information on a wide array of other traffic safety issues. Be sure to visit our site often, since new information is added regularly, and feel free to download our educational materials. Enjoy the Summer and stay safe.
 
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